The Power of a Story

by Scott Stake

Recently at a leadership event, we heard several people share their stories of how the Four Oaks family had impacted them. It was a really sweet time of rejoicing and reflecting on God's faithfulness to us in and through our community of believers!

In addition, one person recounted a great illustration that Corrie Ten Boom used of how God writes the story of our lives. She shared how our lives are like a tapestry that God is weaving together. When you look at the back (our perspective), we see all of these threads running back & forth, interwoven, often times messy & chaotic, seemingly without rhyme or reason. But then, you turn it over (God's perspective), and you see this beautiful picture that God has designed-how God turns this "mess" into a marvelous, redemptive, beautiful, amazing work! (Click here to read the poem.)

Sometimes we get big glimpses of the front side of the tapestry (think Joseph's quote in Genesis 50:20: "what you intended for evil, God meant for good"). Other times we don't get to see very much (think Hebrews 11:39-40: "all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us"). But at all times, God is inviting us to trust, to wait, and to hope in Him, His promises, and the grand story that He is writing for our good and His glory.

The book of Daniel is like a tapestry too, isn't it? Each chapter graciously provides us with both the "messy" circumstances of life and the glimpses of God's grand design to rescue and redeem a people for Himself. And aren't we grateful that Daniel shared his story with us?

This is the power of story! It strengthens community as we share with one another what God is doing and how He's working. It also increases our faith as we hear of God's work and answers to prayer. It affords others the opportunity to give us perspective when maybe we're in one of those moments (or years) where we can't see what in the world God is doing. Our story also is meant to be shared with those who have no hope and don't know the Author of their story. For them to hear that God is in the midst of their story, is sovereignly writing their story, and is working to redeem their story is a marvelous gift!

In addition, one "thread" that I in particular have been struck by in the book of Daniel is God's desire for His story to not just be made known to unbelievers like Nebuchadnezzar, but all peoples, nations, and languages! Look at some verses in Daniel:

"I am making a decree: any people, nation, or a language that speaks anything against God Shadrach, Mishach, and Abednego shall be torn from limb from limb, for there is only god who is able to rescue this way." (Daniel 3:29)
"King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth… It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders of the most high God has done for me." (Daniel 4:1-2)
"Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: 'Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel." (Daniel 6:25)

God is not only writing a story of redemption for us individually but also for people groups all over the world! So, whether it’s with a neighbor or with someone on the other side of the world, God invites us to share and enter into His amazing story and one day with all peoples, nations, and languages, we’ll together get to see the beautiful tapestry that He’s weaving!

If you’d like to hear more about the story God is writing among the nations, I invite you to two wonderful events coming up!

"An Evening in Nepal" is Thursday, December 8, at 6pm at the Killearn Campus. Come enjoy a potluck dinner and hear from our gospel partners, Brian & Lois. They will share about the past 3 years serving in Nepal and their heart for the unreached Karmarong people in the Himalayas. Click here to let us know you’re coming and if you need childcare.

Perspectives on the World Christian Movement is each Tuesday night from 6:30-9pm (beginning January 17) at the Midtown Campus. This 15-week discipleship course includes:

  • rich teaching from 15 different church leaders and missionaries (including the amazing story of God’s redemptive work through Don & Carol Richardson among a cannibal tribe named the Sawi people; click here for a short video!);
  • outstanding readings from world-renowned authors and communicators;
  • and a fun, dynamic learning environment with other believers.

The course is open to other churches and you can even take the course for college credit! Sign up here by November 17 to get the early-bird discount and refer friends to get additional discounts.

So, today, I encourage you to consider your story, share your story, listen to others’ stories, and trust that God is in the midst of your story!